Out WNBA Star Elena Delle Donne Talks Planning Her Dream Wedding

"They’ve had to deal with two brides instead of one!"

WNBA star Elena Delle Donne and Amanda Clifton’s upcoming wedding is going to be one memorable affair: The ladies were chosen as The Knot’s 2017 “Dream Wedding” couple, the first time a same-sex couple has been selected for the honor.

The site is springing for their November 3 ceremony in New York and taking care of all the details. (The brides won’t even find out where they’re going on their honeymoon until the reception.)

“My agent called Amanda and I and said, ’Do you want to do it?'” Delle Donne tells NewNowNext. “And I was like, ’Why are you even asking us that?! Of course!'”

Sara Wight Photography

Their engagement went public in an August 2016 Vogue article that doubled as Delle Donne’s official coming out. Friends, family and teammates knew the the Washington Mystics star forward was a lesbian, but she hadn’t talked about it in the press or to fans.

Mentions of Clifton in the Vogue article are subtle, and that’s how Delle Donne wanted it.

“I didn’t want it to be this earth-shattering announcement. I just wanted it to be normal. That’s what I’m hoping for the future—that people don’t have to come out.”

But once the news broke, both she and Clifton were deluged with support on social media: “[Amanda] started getting a little bit of a fanbase, which was different for her,” Delle Donne recalls. “She’s kind of behind the scenes and doesn’t want to be in the spotlight that much. But I guess she kind of knew that’d be coming, right?”

Robert Wagner Photography

Everyone has their own ideas about their wedding day, but Delle Donne and Clifton say The Knot has been “super accommodating” with them. Each wanted to keep certain details secret from the other—their wedding dresses, their hair and makeup—so the team organized separate fittings and beauty trials.

“I feel bad,” Clifton says with a laugh. “They’ve had to deal with two brides instead of one!”

“I don’t think we’re too crazy demanding,” Delle Donne quips. “Although Amanda might be a bridezilla.”

Hudson Nichols

The couple is working with Brooklyn wedding planner Jove Meyer, who’s helping incorporate some of their favorite things into the special day—right down to making sure bone-in ribeye is on the menu. (It’s one of Clifton’s favorites, and she says the food tasting was by far her favorite part of planning the couple’s Dream Wedding.)

Some of Delle Donne’s teammates will be in attendance, too. “I’m really excited to share the day with them,” she says.

VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images

The one thing they’re not concerned about are presents: Delle Donne and Clifton are asking guests to donate to the Elena Delle Donne Foundation in lieu of wedding gifts. The foundation benefits those living with special needs and Lyme Disease. (Delle Donne was diagnosed with Lyme Disease in 2008, and her sister, Lizzie, is disabled.)

“We thought, we’ve been living together for a while. We don’t need pots and pans and sheets and all that stuff,” Delle Donne recalls. “We wanted to do something bigger than that, and The Knot had the great idea to ask for donations instead of gifts. What a great way to give back and share our special day.”

It was that impulse that made The Knot choose them as this year’s DreamWedding duo. “We’ve never seen a couple more passionate about giving to others than Elena and Amanda,” said editor in chief Kellie Gould.

Looking ahead, the couple says they can’t wait to start a family together. “I think kids will be in our near future,” Delle Donne said. But for now, they just need to get through the wedding.

Best of luck—and congratulations!

Samantha Manzella is a writer and copy editor based out of the Hudson Valley. You can find her writing in a coffeehouse or searching Insta for the latest tattoo artist to hit the scene.
@slmjournalist